that are being restored to good health.
This one (Elm Road Woods) had excellent signage.
No one needs to be confused
(and potentially negative, because uninformed)
by why trees are being cut or why the site gets burned.
One big sign let people know that restoration was under way. Another told the story of the restoration in some detail. You can read a little - and appreciate that someone cared about what you thought. Or you can study the detail for quite a thorough introduction to an interesting site and project.
The large print
message is welcoming.
The first words "At first glance" set a good tone.
They seem to say, "There's more here than meets the eye" - but in a low-key non-preachy kind of way.
At the same time
they alert the visitor
to a drama
that is under way
and that the rest
of the sign will explain in detail.
The history of degradation and the specificity of the 88% make a clear point. It's interesting that the explanation doesn't need to fall back on questions of "aliens" or even "invasives." The problem is a lack of light.
The statement of the goals is clear, but at least so far as the photos I took, there doesn't seem to be any mention of the trees that have to be cut, or the need for fire or herbicides. Perhaps those details are best handled through the website that's offered?? Certainly it seems good to include the excellent list of conservation partners on the project.
The fish-eye lens graphic
is a nice touch.
is a nice touch.
what amounts to a "before" and "after"
seems potentially reassuring
to some people
who might wonder
One feature that interested Linda and me was the richness of the understory. Stumps looked like they'd been cut years ago, and vegetation had clearly taken advantage of that extra light. Much of the vegetation below is Pennsylvania sedge and big leaf aster. In some areas the vegetation was not very diverse.
Another feature that we noticed was many small patches of garlic mustard. In a woods like this in Cook County, we suspected that volunteers would have pulled it long ago. Linda and I provided some help in that regard.
The garlic mustard made us worry that no stewards are in love with this very lovable woods. Neither volunteers nor public use and appreciation are featured in the signage and in otherwise excellent web materials (including a fine video based on interviews with good and engaging professionals). Check them out at http://www.lcfpd.org/woodlands/. It would be great to have books, videos, etc. that included a great deal more detail on plants, animals, restoration techniques, and people (professional and volunteer conservationists, scientists, neighbors, and preserve appreciators). But, to me, these Lake County Forest Preserve materials make a great contribution as we develop a "culture of conservation" in Chicago Wilderness.